If you have ever recorded video on your phone or with a camera you would have noticed that the files can be considerably larger than you had expected – some can cost you a few megabytes per second; quality depending. The reason for these large files is something called Compression and this has a lot to do with the way our digital devices go about managing the information they generate, and the quality of video footage has rocketed over the past few years, with nearly every smartphone being capable of producing at least 720p HD video. This is all well and good until you consider the impact this is having on a world where data is anything but free, its barely affordable! But good news has come, ladies and gentlemen, and we are very excited to tell you why you also have every reason to be excited – simply because you probably have a smartphone within 3 meters of you right this second.
Compression: What is it?
Compression is only one step in the digital video generation process, but it is extremely important – here is how it fits into the process. The example above is an oversimplification but will help make sense of how this all works together. So we see that LIGHT strikes the SENSOR in the camera, this causes an electrical signal to be sent to the PROCESSOR. This initial flood of information to the processor is called the RAW video and is very large in size. Next, the PROCESSOR will digest this RAW feed and translate the feed into actual video footage, this requires numerous steps and software to achieve. So we will focus on the compression. One of the main tasks of the PROCESSOR is to compress the final file. Basically, the video file that has been generated up until this point is far to large for conventional storage devices to transfer efficiently. So the COMPRESSOR will take the video file and make it smaller. It does this by discarding any unnecessary information that the camera produces, this includes material like Metadata etc. And at the end of this process, you have a small(-ish) video file.
Now remember that this is a gross oversimplification of the actual process. This explanation only serves to show how Compression fits into the process of generating a video file. It saves space by throwing away the information that most users will not need, and the way this is done is through the use of complex algorithms and calculations within the compressor’s DNA.
So What is x265?
x265 is the offspring of the same company, MulticoreWare, that made x264, the codec still predominantly used today. x264 made it possible for HD files to be compressed down to the point where even cellphones with little processing power could play them efficiently. It revolutionised the video compression field, all through getting rid of unnecessary information in video files and finding creative ways to reduce their size, while retaining quality. x265 is basically the same concept, but much more efficient. This new codec has the ability to provide better quality than 1080p HD video coded with x264, while saving up to 40% on space! Do not misunderstand, this is a monumental shift. The fact that you can have a 10TB Hard Drive full of wedding footage converted to free up 4TB of space is unheard of. Just think how YouTube could benefit from this.
What Does This Mean For Marketing?
Now we get down to the core of the discussion. Video is no longer the bulky task it used to be, needing cameras the size of cars, hundreds of crew etc. Now it is available in devices of sizes only fantasized about in spy movies and right in our pockets. Our smartphones today have processing power rivaling those of laptops, screens of extremely high resolution, and an uninterrupted connection to the very thing that connects us all – the internet. And on this “Internet” we find human kind’s unyielding love for felines, food and flesh being highly coveted and worshiped. Jokes aside, think of the following situation –
The team is gathered in the conference room, discussion is deafening with voices excitedly talking about the new video marketing campaign everyone has been stuck on for weeks. It feels as if it is all coming together, until… Until the moment someone mentions that people may not want to watch the video on their smartphones because of their data allowances. Cue the sound of a balloon deflating and flying around the room, everyone is suddenly back to their originally demotivated states. You can’t help but think that there should be some way to solve this but you can not.
Its simple maths: Smartphones are the future marketing playing field + Smartphones need data + Videos require a lot of data to stream + Data is expensive = Deflating Balloon Sound.
If this truly is not a dream (pinch your arm), then marketers can start looking forward to some exciting new areas of advertising. The bottleneck will widen one day, with videos getting smaller and data getting cheaper. The day that it does, be sure you are ready because it will be an absolute bloodbath – people will finally have no reason to take their eyes off of their smartphones’ screens, every second of which is an opportunity for conversion and every marketer out there will be grasping for exposure. Not just that, but with VR and 3D entertainment still not yet in everyday use, but that could also very well happen as a result of optimisations such as this codec – even entire websites and apps with full HD video backgrounds will be possible. A whole new world of truly rich content, but first we need to sort out the data pricing situation – especially here in Africa.
From us here at BFS; May the Odds favor You, our dear Reader.
If you have any thoughts on this article that you wish to share, please feel free to do so down below.
What project have you been sitting on that could now finally see the light of day?
What do you think will happen in the near-to-mid future?
Will we finally fly to work in drones? 3D print any food we want?
Do you think we could ever reach a point where we can’t go smaller than what we have been going?
Go ahead and let us know in the comments below!